Project Integration Management

Managing projects can be complex, especially when dealing with large or mega projects. Even as a new project manager, you get to discover this pretty early.

There are so many tasks, deliverables, software, processes, stakeholders’ expectations, ambiguities and uncertainties of risks, software solutions, and deadlines that can honestly be overwhelming for you as a project manager.

Bringing all this together for a successful project requires a blend and orchestration of the different aspects and processes of the project.

It is essential to follow a systematic project management process so the goals and objectives of the project are met.

To implement a successful project strategy, understanding project integration management and its steps is key. It helps you as a project manager to manage project complexities, resources, and risks holistically.

As it happens that every project is unique, you need to tailor processes according to the syntax of the project and ensure seamless integration of these processes that make up the project when managing projects.

In this post, we’ll delve into the basics of project integration management and how it impacts the management of projects.

What is Project Integration Management?

Projects are made up of lots of moving parts. When managing one, it’s easy to get so tied up watching these parts and thriving for your idea of perfection that you end up losing track of the original goal of the project.

The purpose of project integration management is to coordinate and synchronize all elements of the project. They happen to be many and many processes are dependent on one another.

Project management has lots of components, process groups, and knowledge areas. Project integration management is a component that helps ensure the efficient management of projects. while keeping resource utilization on track.

Project integration management is the systematic approach to managing projects with the aim of ensuring smooth project execution from project initiation to closing.

Project managers have to deal with task dependencies, cross-functional teams, and resource scheduling. Project integration is the key to managing all these and unifying the project while making trade-offs with stakeholders.

The Project Management Institute (PMI), project integration management is essential in defining, identifying, unifying, combining, and coordinating the various activities and processes throughout the project life cycle.

project integration management

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The Importance of Project Integration Management

As a project manager, you will deal with complex projects with a lot of different parts and product development methodologies that you have to handle and integrate. You will need to handle the following:

Scope Management

Schedule Management

Cost Management

Risk Management

Resource Management

Stakeholder Management

Communication Management

Quality Management

Change Management

Handling all of these is no mean fit and requires the right strategy, as we know that projects are time-bound. Project integration management is important as it helps you understand how each process affects the other.

For example, a change in scope does not affect just the scope. This change will likely affect the schedule, budget, risk, resources, quality, and practically every facet of the project.

A reduction in the budget can affect the available resources, quality of the project, and schedule.

Using a project integration management strategy ensures that all processes are organized for enhanced efficiency.

importance of project integration management

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Project Management Knowledge Areas

According to the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK), project integration management is one of the 10 knowledge areas. Project Management is divided into knowledge areas.

A knowledge area is a core technical subject matter that is necessary for effective project management.

Project management knowledge coincides with the project process groups. The process groups are project initiation, planning, executing, monitoring and control, and closure indicating the chronological order of the different phases of the project.

The 10 project management knowledge areas are:

  1. Project integration management
  2. Project scope management
  3. Project schedule management
  4. Project cost management
  5. Project quality management
  6. Project resource management
  7. Project communication management
  8. Project risk management
  9. Project procurement
  10. Project stakeholder

project integration management processes

Project Integration Management Processes

Each of these project management knowledge areas has processes that fall within them. These are the processes that have to be executed properly to show mastery of the core technical subject matter defined by that knowledge area.

Project integration management has these 7 processes that must be executed properly in order to successfully integrate all other processes and aspects of the project.

  1. Create project charter
  2. Develop a project management plan
  3. Manage project execution
  4. Manage project knowledge
  5. Monitor and control project work
  6. Perform integrated change control
  7. Perform project closure

Create a Project Charter

A project charter is a formal document that outlines the project goals and objectives and details the criteria for project success.

It also contains a high-level overview of the key project deliverables, identified risks, key stakeholders, resources, project team, schedule estimate, budget estimate, and initiates the project.

It is created in the direction of the project business case as developed by the sponsor of the project.

It is a form of an official contract between the project manager and the sponsor. It gives a high-level view of the project expectations and the business value it is expected to produce.

The project charter when approved also bestows authority on the project manager to utilize allocated resources.

This project charter is not relevant to only the project initiation phase as it serves as a roadmap for the project from initiating to closing.

The project plan has to be updated throughout the project to ensure it is still in line with the goals and objectives of the project charter.

Develop a Project Management Plan

Planning is key in project management and is often the longest phase of most projects. To plan for a project, a comprehensive project management plan has to be drafted.

This plan has to be approved by the project sponsor and stakeholders before the project execution of the actual work begins.

A project management plan details the project deliverables, milestones, estimated timeline, and benchmarks that make up the project success criteria as detailed in the project charter.

These deliverables are further decomposed into sprints or work packages in the work breakdown structure (WBS).

The project management plan is created by the project management along with the key stakeholders and the project team.

It is a formal document that details how the project will be executed, monitored, controlled, and closed at the end. Actual project execution commences when the project management plan has been approved.

The components of the project management plan include:

  • Performance measurement baseline (consisting of the scope baseline, schedule baseline, and cost baseline).
  • Subsidiary management plan (consisting of management plans for the project scope, schedule, cost, quality, resources, communication, risk, procurement, and stakeholders).
  • Requirements management plan
  • Configuration management plan
  • Change management plan

Manage Project Execution

After developing the project management plan and getting it approved, the next step is to begin the execution of the project. In the project execution process, the project team is to execute the tasks and activities for each sprint or work package as detailed in the project management plan.

While the project is being executed, the role of the project manager is to coordinate these tasks and ensure they are executed as planned.

This also involves communication with the team and stakeholders, managing resources, getting updates and reports, and analyzing these reports.

All resources must be coordinated and utilized in such a way that all deliverables are delivered within the schedule and budget.

Manage Project Knowledge

To manage projects successfully, it is important for a project manager to leverage past and new knowledge to accomplish the goals of the project.

One advantage a project manager can leverage in projects is the use of organizational process assets (OPAs).

A knowledge base for storing and retrieving knowledge is among the OPAs. This includes lessons learned, historic information, and past project files.

Using the knowledge weaned from past projects as well as ensuring project data information and lessons learned are documented for use in subsequent project sprints, phases, and future projects are important.

Monitor and Control Project Work

When the project is executed, it has to be monitored to ensure tasks and activities are done as detailed in the project management plan.

The deliverables also need to be monitored for conformance to the project management plan. Without adequate monitoring and control, a project runs the risk of deviation from the original project scope,

To ensure balance among all the project processes and parts, it has to be monitored closely as project integration management is about blending these processes.

A shift in one part can affect another. It is important to quickly detect this shift and quickly take action to keep the project on track.

From the project data collected as the project work is being done, regular analysis has to be done to ensure conformance with expectations from the plan.

These include using earned value analysis to ascertain the schedule and cost status and checking for any variance.

Perform Integrated Change Control

No matter how well you plan a project, change is inevitable especially. The degree and severity of the changes depend on if the project is using a predictive (plan-driven) or adaptive (change-driven) methodology.

When the project is been executed, change requests may arise ranging from preventive actions, corrective actions, and defect repairs.

When variance is observed during the monitoring and control process, change requests arise to get the project back on the right track.

It is important to properly analyze any change requests to prevent scope creep or the project from going out of scope.

Change requests should be analyzed by the change control board (CCB) and the decision to accept or reject should be properly documented and updated so that everyone is working with an updated version of the project plan.

Perform Project Closure

When the project work has been done, the deliverables are handed over to the client for final acceptance, and the project can be formally closed and signed off.

The project manager should review the project processes, and document the project files and the lessons learned.

David Usifo (PSM, MBCS, PMP®)
David Usifo (PSM, MBCS, PMP®)

David Usifo is a certified project manager professional, professional Scrum Master, and a BCS certified Business Analyst with a background in product development and database management.

He enjoys using his knowledge and skills to share with aspiring and experienced project managers and product developers the core concept of value-creation through adaptive solutions.

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